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12 craft books to help you achieve your visions

Posted in Book reviews.

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To celebrate World Book Day we have put together a list of our 12 favourite craft books to help you to perfect your craft projects and realise your creative visions.

The CraftCourses team recommends...






Make it simple

by Tilly and the buttons

Tilly’s whole philosophy seems to be about taking something that feels like it’s only for other (much more skilled) people and showing us how easy and accessible clothes making is. 

I find it a much needed antidote to our fast fashion world.

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10 minute watercolours

by Hazel Soan, Collins gem

It isn’t fancy or trendy: it’s small, factual and gives tiny tips that are easily understood, from what materials to use, to capturing individual elements you see, like clouds, water, pebbles and crowds.

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Amazing Glaze

by Gabriel Kline

This book provides a useful foundation followed by plenty of inspiring recipes to try to create your desired effect - covering low to high firing ranges, plus Raku, slip and underglaze techniques.

It's like walking into a sweet shop - so many you want to try but which to pick first?!

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Traditional woodland crafts

by Raymond Tabor
It explains not just the techniques and materials used but the background and history of the tradition, including the different types of wood used in different areas.
It’s a very romantic book, that harks back to a time not that long ago, when people lived much closer to nature. This book describes in detail the lives of people who live in and from the woodland.




Drawing on the right side of the brain

by Betty Edwards


If like many people you believe you can’t draw (I really can’t!) then this book is highly recommended.

I’m enjoying reading the theory behind the development (or lack of development) of our creative sides and exercises such as upside-down drawing are helping challenge my creative preconceptions.

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Do Sourdough: slow bread for busy lives

by Andrew Whitley

The book is refreshingly simple - it takes the age-old art of making fermented bread and makes it hassle-free. A great place to start for a beginner entering into the often overwhelming world of sourdough bread.

I felt like I would never master a single loaf until this book came along, took away all the complexeties and numerous variations and allowed me to focus on just getting the first one under my belt!

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The Sourdough School

by Vanessa Kimbell

Once you have mastered a simple loaf of sourdough bread this book is the go-to guide for everything you need to know about the craft of artisan bread making. It includes different starters, grains, specialist advice and plenty of background so that you understand the science and can start to develop your own unique making and baking plans.

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Leatherwork : a manual of techniques

by Geoffrey West
The diagrams and pictures are nice and clear and there is a good range of projects  too.
I like this book because it covers a wide range of techniques, such as hand stitching, thonging and burnishing, as well as a good introduction to the tools and materials needed in leather work.





The Knitter’s Bible

by Claire Crompton


This is the best knitting book I have come across for giving great examples of different knitting techniques in a fuss free and easy to understand way. It got me cabling, which I was completely daunted by for a while.

There is also a very thorough stitch library section with over 100 variations and projects from beginners through to advanced, so you can get creating really quickly.

I just need to finish any one of the projects I have started 😉…

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by Michael Ruhlman & Brian Polcyn


The 1973 "What Can I do Today" Children's Craft Book is what got our Sam  into making stuff, which became inventing stuff which became programming stuff and here he is!

These days I’m more into the food side of things than toilet roll submarines.
Charcuterie by Michael Ruhlman does a great job of inspiring you by describing why slow-food charcuterie is still so important, what subtle unique flavours it brings and also contains enough of the detailed techniques to start making it safely.





Modern Lettering

by Rebecca Cahill Roots


This practical guide to modern calligraphy encourages lots of practice as you move through the book with plenty of space to try out your newly learned techniques at each step of the way.

You are taught different styles and develop your own.

I love how lettering can be used create beautiful works of art and make simple things feel so special.

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Making Rocking Horses

by Anthony Dew

One craft book I treasure is “Making Rocking Horses” the first book mine and Kate's Dad wrote back in 1984.

This book was written right at the start of his mission to bring Rocking Horse making back to life as a craft (he wrote subsequent books). Previously makers did not share their knowledge freely, there was a real sense of trade secrets and Anthony wanted to change that and allow any committed amateur wood worker to create a lasting heirloom for their family.

I love that there is a cute picture of Kate on the first page, wearing a fantastically retro “Save the wooden Rocking horse” t-shirt!

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Of course we know that there is nothing quite like learning first-hand from an expert who can guide you, demonstrate and let you connect with the craft and materials, as well as give you a real-time hints and tips, so if you would prefer to get started in a new craft or add a new technique to a current hobby then have a browse of the thousands of craft classes on our site here.

If you have a great craft book to share please get in touch


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